Fri. Sep 20th, 2019

Supreme Court seeks records of EC decisions on Narendra Modi

2 min read

The Supreme Court has sought details of the clean chits the Election Commission had given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on complaints of violations of the model poll code and directed the records to be placed before it.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi passed the directive on Monday while dealing with a petition Congress MP Sushmita Dev had filed alleging that the commission was biased.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing to May 8, by when the poll panel is expected to submit the records.

Senior advocate Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who appeared for Dev, told the court that the panel gave the clean chits despite notes of dissent.

Of the six cases in which clean chits have been given to Modi and Shah, there have been dissent notes in five, Singhvi said, but did not specify the cases.

The commission’s model code division deals with complaints filed with the EC in Delhi, and the three election commissioners take the final decision. It has been reported that one of them has dissented on several decisions.

Singhvi said the Congress had sought the dissent notes from the commission but “the dissent notes have not been supplied to us”.

He said the commission had acted against other candidates for “identical words spoken and similar phraseology used during the campaigning” but had taken no steps on similar allegations of hate speeches delivered by Modi and Shah.

Singhvi urged the court to lay down guidelines the panel could follow so that there was a uniform standard for dealing with all complaints of poll code violations. This, he said, was necessary since the panel takes its own time dealing with complaints.

Singhvi said that although the Congress had complained to the panel over a month ago, it had acted only after the Supreme Court issued a notice on Dev’s petition last week.

Dev has accused the commission of “abdication” of duty in the middle of the electoral process. The MP from Silchar, Assam, has alleged in her petition that the “Prime Minister and the party in power have for the past five years fostered and cultivated an atmosphere of communal tension for their petty political gains”.

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